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Perseverance is Key to Success

If I had given up at any time during my job search, I would not have found a job, received a second round of publicity for my success and perseverance, or ended up where I am today. My experience illustrates why it is so important to keep your eyes on your goal and maintain the determination to reach it.

I never stopped sending out resumes, even when I received very few responses. I never stopped calling people, even when most of the time I spoke with messaging systems. I never stopped meeting with people and going to interviews, even when there was no clear job opening.

I did not know what would work out. So I had to keep trying. When one exciting opportunity after another fizzled out and the doors were shut, I just kept looking for the next open door.

'Perspiration' Is Vital to Success

I emailed hundreds of resumes, made hundreds of telephone calls and networked for months. Yet nothing worked out. Bear Stearns collapsed. The economy and financial markets grew weaker by the day. I was frustrated and rode an emotional roller-coaster, but I never thought of giving up.

When Thomas Edison said, "Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration," he wasn't kidding around. He could have said success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perseverance. He also said, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

My 1 percent inspiration was my creative idea to go out to Park Avenue to hand out resumes while wearing an "Experienced MIT Grad for Hire" sign board displaying my contact information. My decision to start a blog falls in that category, too. But the rest of my efforts are best characterized as perseverance and perspiration.

Famous Case Studies

Two other great people's quotes are worth noting here. Babe Ruth said: "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." And Robert Kennedy said: "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."

Indeed, many famous people achieved great things by not giving up. Albert Einstein was a late bloomer who had to overcome many challenges in his lifetime. Sigmund Freud was ostracized when he first presented his theories. Abraham Lincoln failed in his initial steps as a soldier, businessman and politician. Winston Churchill failed as a politician until he became prime minister at age 62. Henry Ford failed many times before he finally got it right.

Be Creative and Stay Upbeat

It is important to keep your eyes on your goal and maintain your determination to reach it. And it's better to be creative and do something different rather than to give up or keep doing the same thing which is not working.

It does not help to worry, panic or surrender. It helps to be creative and constructive. It helps to reach out to people and communicate. It helps to be optimistic and persistent. It helps to get help!

Finding a job is hard work, and as with any job, if you stop working at it, you will not succeed.

There is no limit to what you can achieve if you do not give up. What's more, success will come quicker and be sweeter if the people around you - your family, friends and colleagues - do not give up on you and themselves either. There is no place that patience and perseverance cannot take you.

If you want to succeed, get used to the 99 percent perspiration and throw in the 1 percent inspiration whenever you can.

When unemployed, it is important to do what you have to do to keep your spirits up. Whether it's eating right, exercising regularly, taking walks, meditating or praying, it's important to do whatever it takes to stay centered, healthy and optimistic.

Don't lose hope and don't give up!

Joshua Persky is a New York-based career management author, blogger and lecturer whose professional background is in corporate finance and valuation. Last year he gained worldwide media attention for handing out his resume to strangers on the street while wearing a homemade sandwich board that read: "Experienced MIT Grad for Hire."

AUTHORJoshua Persky Insider Comment
  • An
    11 September 2009

    Encouraging words there.

  • GS
    11 September 2009

    Your article is exactly what I needed to read this morning. I'll even print it out for my wife to read.

  • Ra
    Raymond Mo
    11 September 2009

    I think I'll get a tattoo that says I'm unemployed with a undergraduate degree and three internships under my belt...So I just graduted and waiting to start my career...still waiting... won't give up just yet.

  • wb
    11 September 2009


    I could use some advice:

    I've been looking for a new job for over 13 months at this point. Fortunately, I've been employed the entire time. However, the reasons that I need to leave my current employer are the same things that prospective employers are holding against me. For example, my current firm doesn't sponsor for the Series 7. So, even though I began studying for the exam in college, I still haven't been able to receive a sponsor. Another problem, my interactions with clients thus far have been highly operation, or task-oriented in nature. Lastly, my company claims one of its core principals is meritocracy, however, being the number one rated member of my department for 11 consecutive months has gotten me to the bottom quartile of pay, as one of the least tenured members left in the department.

    What would you suggest? How do I position myself in interviews to turn these weaknesses into strengths? I've already taken the internal route of pursuing additional education programs and responsibilities. But most firms disregard my accolades because of where I've earned them.

    How do you overcome the objection when the objection is who you

  • Jo
    11 September 2009

    May I ask what did he learn at MIT? Howcome he could not survive one year out of hisjob? I suppose he was giving investment advice to his clients, did he listen to himself? Did he make any investments?

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